EAST LANSING - Mycial Allen's recruitment just became more interesting. If you haven't already listened to it, make sure to go back and check out our Recruiting Rap Podcast from earlier this week. We were very high on Finley and Allen before they started making all this noise this week. It's a good listen. Check it out.
The Detroit King defensive back had a strong performance at Michigan State's 7-on-7 Passing League Team Camp on Friday. Next up, he'll join more than a hundred players at Saturday's one-day elite camp at the MSU football complex.
Allen, who has offers from Iowa, Memphis and several Mid-America Conference schools, but not yet one from Michigan State, has been closely evaluated by the Spartans for months.
On Friday, Spartans coaches watched Allen deliver impressive interceptions against Lowell High School and Woodland Hills (Pa.) at the team camp, in addition to good foot skills.
Twenty-six teams, mostly from Michigan, participated in the camp, with each team playing three games. There were no standings or playoff brackets, just off-season team and player development.
Allen, ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 16 player in Michigan and the No. 4-ranked uncommitted player in the state, plays safety for Detroit King. At 5-11, 183, the strongly-built Allen is similar in size to former Spartan All-Big Ten safety Trenton Robinson. He might be big enough to play safety at the major conference level. But, for good measure, college scouts would like to see if he has the feet and acceleration to play cornerback. Some schools are looking at him as a wide receiver.
"Michigan State said they are interested to see how he can turn his hips," said Detroit King assistant coach Terel Patrick.
Allen does not have a slight build. He has strong thighs and wide shoulders. He's intense.
Whereas Allen played safety during the 7-on-7 camp, he will go through cornerback drills at Saturday's camp as he works to hone his craft, and possibly impress MSU coaches in the process.
"He is a good enough athlete to do it," Allen said. "Playing corner is not what he has done for us. We have not asked him to do that. He is a good enough athlete that if that is what they needed him to get done up here, there is no doubt in my mind that he would be able to do it."
Anyone who has seen his burst on game film would likely agree.
Playing safety at the high school level allows Allen to be in on the action more often, cover for teammates, and it makes it more difficult for opponents to throw away from him.
Against Lowell at MSU's outdoor practice field, Allen turned in a picturesque interception as the right safety in halves coverage. He made the read on a deep ball down the sideline, accelerated through a smooth hip turn, converged at what turned out to be a perfect angle to arrive at the ball. All of that was impressive enough. He then went up and snared a difficult interception at the apex of his jump.
Two hours later, he went even higher - again, catching the ball at the apex of his jump - for a terrific interception along the left sideline against Woodland Hills.
Dantonio, based on the 30-plus defensive backs he has sent to the NFL, is arguably the best judge of defensive back talent in college football today. He commonly says he looks for a DB's ability to judge the ball in the deep part of the field, as well as the ball skills to finish plays. Allen demonstrated those traits on Friday, backing up his fine junior film.
As for intangibles, Allen is strong in those areas as well. He was the unquestioned vocal leader of his 7-man defensive unit on Friday. In an era in which it has become rare to find players willing to lead teammates, Allen had no reservations about challenging and directing King teammates. At one point during the Woodland Hills game, after the opponent had completed a handful of passes, Allen turned to his coaches on the bench and said, "Hey, get some guys out here who can cover!"
Allen's teammates took the cue and began shaping up.
"He's the vocal leader," said Patrick, who played at Detroit King and later Illinois State. "He takes care of everything at school as far as the weight room, making sure all the kids are in the weight room when they are supposed to be, making sure that all the kids are in the classroom. He's just a great kid, a four-year program kid, a four-year varsity kid. In the classroom, this guy is consistently over a 3.0."
Allen also excels on offense as a wide receiver.
"College coaches like his ability to do things on both sides of the ball," Patrick said. "He has great instincts to the ball from safety. And at receiver, he's a play-maker."
Also, From Detroit
Allen's Detroit King teammate, outside linebacker Carl Fuller, performed well in front of Michigan State defensive coaches, Friday.
Fuller, a strong candidate for in-state Top 10 status in 2014, already has an offer from Syracuse.
Fuller is listed at 6-2, 180 in the Rivals.com database. His coaches list him at 6-3, 200.
"Carl is just explosive to the ball, man," Patrick said. "He runs like no other. Great hips. Good kid. Good, mild-mannered kid."
Fuller has a long, rangy, solidly-built frame. He has the look of a young player who is just starting to mature into some excellent physical gifts. He's still blossoming.
"He is just starting to get the weight on to go with that explosiveness. Carl will be big-time. He will be the next big thing out of Detroit. He can take 40 pounds on that frame without losing a step."
What About The Games?
Coaches, players and game officials didn't pay close attention to game scores during competition at the MSU 7 on 7 Passing League Team Camp.
"Some teams might do things specifically to win games like these, but we just run our usual stuff," said Lowell head coach Noel Dean. "We just want to get some work in, work on our things, compete."
Lowell, although a perennial state power, doesn't figure to have any high major prospects this year.
Jon Reschke was MSU's lone verbal commitment in action on Friday. He played middle linebacker in Brother Rice's zone defense.
In this format, he didn't get a lot of chances to turn and run with fast opponents. But he played the usual role of a vocal, dependable middle linebacker in the center of zone coverage, showing a good hip turn in the short area, and some two-step acceleration.
Nailing a lead blocker on an isolation play? That's one of Reschke's specialties, but he won't be able to do that until the pads go on, in August.
Brother Rice, the defending Division 2 state champion, will open the season against defending Division 1 state champion Detroit Cass Tech on Friday, Aug. 24 as the headline game for the 2012 Prep Showdown at Wayne State.
Speaking of Cass Tech, word came on Friday that Ohio State is the latest to offer a scholarship to stock-on-the-rise offensive tackle Dennis Finley.
Super Sleeper QB
Michigan State is not in the market for a quarterback, having gained a commitment from Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep's Damion Terry. But in-state Mid-America Conference coaches are starting to catch wind of a rising prospect in Grand Blanc QB Bart Williams.
Williams was excellent during Friday's 7-on-7 camp, and at times outstanding.
He is listed at 6-5, 195 and looks to be all of that size.
He had good accuracy on the slant, delivered the out with velocity and dropped the deep ball in the bucket. He has zip, touch and delivers a tight spiral short and deep.
His footwork and athleticism isn't on display in a shot gun, stationary 7-on-7 camp such as this, but the arm talent had the look of a major conference prospect. Western Michigan and Toledo have been snooping around.
"I think somebody is going to get a steal in this kid," said Grand Blanc head coach Joe Delaney. "He is one of those kids who kind of got lost coming up because he didn't go to a lot of camps because he was going to be a basketball player. Then he kind of figured out that he was a pretty good quarterback."
Williams was Associated Press first-team Division 1/2 all-state last fall as a junior. He was also named Player of the Year for the Flint Journal's All-Area team. He threw for 3,200 yards with 37 TDs and 11 interceptions.
"In all of the guys I've had in 30-some years of coaching, he sees the field better than anybody I've ever had. We had four guys with over 30 catches last year. It's because he can distribute it. He saw it. He can go from one to two to three. I haven't had many guys who can go from a second read to a third and fourth read and he was able to.
"He has a good, strong arm. He's just started getting into the weight room. He added 100 pounds to his squat the last time we tested him."
He has camped at Toledo.
"They like him, but I think they are waiting to evaluate everybody before they pull the trigger," Delaney said. "That's the interesting thing about quarterbacks; that's one position where they can't make a mistake."
Junior QB Chance Stewart Looks Good
As for QBs who are on MSU's shopping list, Sturgis High School junior Chance Stewart showed off some arm talent.
The 6-foot-6, 205-pound right-hander showed that he could deliver the ball with zip with a short release. He also showed touch in throwing over the linebacker and in front of the safeties on an intermediate toss for a TD over the middle.
On a hot day without much rest, and all of these players a little bit out of practice, Stewart's accuracy and tightness might have wavered just a little bit in the late innings. But he's certainly one of the most interesting juniors in the state, and one to keep an eye on for 2014. He already has an offer from Western Michigan.
Who was better, Stewart or Williams? We didn't see every single throw, so it would be reckless for us to pick one. From what we saw, it was too close to call.
Making The Rounds
Grand Blanc DE/OLB Luke McLean played middle linebacker for the Bobcats on Friday, often sinking into zone coverage. He'll try to turn loose some horsepower and test well at MSU's camp on Friday. He has already put on some pretty good weight this off-season.
McLean updated us on his offer list, with Kansas, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh headlining the group, plus MAC schools. Kansas is offering as an outside linebacker. Pittsburgh is offering as a linebacker. Some are considering him as a tight end.
MSU is set at linebacker. MSU is looking at him as a d-end.
Howell tight end Pete Cender played through some pain on Friday, having used up some fuel at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp earlier in the week.
He said he plans to camp at Iowa and Air Force. He has offers from Iowa, Air Force, Western Michigan, Bowling Green and other MAC schools. He sports a 3.65 GPA.
Cender will be at MSU's Saturday camp.
Overheard: Wayland Union's head coach, getting his players amped up during pregame on the main field at Spartan Stadium: "Let's go! Let's go! Get ready! This is your chance to play on the best field in the state."
By the way, the skeletons of the two video boards in the north end zone are up. They've been up for a while. That's no news. But Friday was the first time I've stood on the field and looked up at them. They're big. The one in the south end zone is going to be huge. I'm no sound engineer or physics major, but those video boards are going to bounce noise back into the field and make Spartan Stadium louder.
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